Voice of the Arhuacos: Transcending the Borders of “Indigenous” Filmmaking in Colombia

Agata Lulkowska | 2019

This article explores mainstream ambitions of indigenous filmmakers from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. Using the example of Zhigoneshi, the Arhuaco filmmaking collective, I analyse the trend to transcend the boundaries of so-called “indigenous cinema.” The filmmaking in the region emerged as a response to political violence, and it developed into a tool of cultural self-discovery and opposition to past misinterpretations of the Arhuacos by Western filmmakers. Today, the Arhuacos reach for audiovisual media to communicate, create an archive of their history and culture, and to reflect on the implications of adopting a Western tool to protect the traditional values. The fruit of their work widely circulates at film festivals, academic events, and special presentations, reaching audiences all over the world. As such, the universal qualities of audiovisual media promise hope of successful intercultural communication..

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